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15 Best Books for 4 Year Old Boys & Girls

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One of the best gifts you can give any child is a book. Introducing children to reading early in life can provide them with an enjoyable life long hobby that can defeat boredom, provide enjoyment, and aid in their ability to be successful at school and at life.

By 4 years old young boys and girls are beginning to read on their own, (though they still enjoy being read to) so the list of books we have presented here are specifically designed for a 4 year old girl’s or boy’s blossoming reading skills.

Our List of the Best Books for 4 Year Olds


What Should Danny Do?


A child’s first choice is your own adventure book. Kids are presented with various situations that Danny is in and are asked to make a choice of what Danny should do for each situation. The story changes with each choice that is made. The great thing about this book is that it makes children aware how making choices can affect their life.

  • Allows children to interact with the story
  • Teaches children how good and bad choices can impact their day
  • Kids can relate to the situations Danny finds himself in
  • This book leads some children to think that making the right choice will lead to reward
What makes this book stand out?

This is one of the best books for 4 year olds, because it does teach them about making good and bad choices.


The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child


These two books will have both children and parents laughing making this ideal book for 4-year-olds. In the Gruffalo, a tiny mouse avoids being eaten by a number of creatures such as fox and an owl, by frightening them with the Gruffalo, a terrible monster he makes up. In the Gruffalo’s child, the Gruffalo makes up a monster mouse to prevent his child from wandering in the deep dark woods. Both stories are sure to touch your child’s imagination and introduce them to rhyme.

  • Beautiful illustrations make these stories come alive
  • The board book versions make these books durable, which is good because the child will want to read them again and again.
  • There seems to be no real negative to these stories.
What makes this book stand out?

The two books together tell both sides of the same story in a rhyming and unique way.


My Magical Words


This book is designed to help build self-esteem in young children. It teaches children to use self affirming words when speaking of themselves. The lessons in this book are done in rhyming form making it a fun read for any 4-year-old.

  • Vibrant illustrations captures the interest of young children
  • Diversity of images and gives kids affirmative words to use for themselves.
  • Some users don’t like the religious overtones
What makes this book stand out?

This book teaches children a number of lessons on how words can increase your feelings of self-worth.


National Geographic First Big Book of Why


This book encourages 4-year-olds to engage in self-learning. This book is filled with questions and answers. This book also includes games, crafts and even simple recipes that the child can make with a parent or older sibling. This is a fun book for a 4 year old just learning to read.

  • Tons of content covering interests of every young child
  • Grows with child, they will be able to use this book for years
  • Some of these books fall apart with limited use
What makes this book stand out?

This book contains a good deal of general information based on the understanding of young children.


Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day


Many young children feel if the least little thing goes wrong it is the worst thing in the world. However, this book will help children understand that things could always be worse and that everyone has a bad day. While the concept and the story contained in this book is age appropriate for a 4 year old just starting to read the wording itself may require the help of an older child or adult.

  • The terrible things that happens to Alexander actually makes kids feel better when they have had a bad day
  • Many parents remember this book with fondness and enjoy sharing it with the child
  • Some parents don’t like that this story doesn’t have a happy ending
What makes this book stand out?

This book teaches children that anyone can have a bad day from time to time and it’s alright to feel grumpy from time to time.


Giraffes Can’t Dance


This story of an awkward giraffe who has 4 left feet and is made fun of at the jungle dance by all of the other animals who can dance. Gerald the giraffe feels sad that he can’t master the steps that the other animals accomplish with ease until a friendly cricket shows Gerald that there is a different kind of dance that he can do well.

  • Teaches children that not everyone is good at the same thing, or does something in the same way
  • The rhymes and illustrations are exciting and fun
  • A great early reading book for 4 year olds
  • Many parents don’t like how mean the other animals are to the giraffe
What makes this book stand out?

This book teaches in a fun way that with a little effort anyone can accomplish their goals although perhaps not in the way others do.


Where the Wild Thing Are


When Max puts on a wolf suit and decides to get into all kinds of trouble his mother sends him to his room and calls him a “wild thing.” Stuck in his room without any super Max imagines he sails away to a place where the wild things are imagining himself as king. While the images in his mind are exciting after a while he realizes that he belongs at home with the mother who loves him even when he is causing mischief.

  • Fun illustrations
  • Teaches children it is fun to use their imagination
  • Some of the hard covered books come with the dust covers damaged
What makes this book stand out?

This award winning book for 4 year olds won the Caldecott award for 1963 and is a favorite of parents as well as children.


National Geographic First Big Book of Dinosaurs


If you have a 4-year-old that loves dinosaurs this is the book for them. This book gives little kids plenty of information and fun facts about all different types of dinosaurs from the largest to the smallest. The book features great pictures and large print making this book appealing to younger children.

  • Will grow with the child
  • The information is easy for young children to digest
  • Some of the pages fall out easily
What makes this book stand out?

This is a great book to encourage young children to engage in self-learning on a subject they have a real interest in.


The Giving Tree


This book is perfect to read to any 4 year old as it is a story of unconditional love and generosity of the heart. It is about an apple tree who loves a little boy and throughout the boy’s life he offers him shelter from the sun, a place to play, and apples to eat. As the boy grows older and his needs change the tree gives up her apples for the boy to make money, her branches for the boy to build a home, her trunk for a boat and at the end the remaining stump becomes a place for the boy now an old man to rest.

  • The illustrations in this book are clean, simple and enhance the story
  • The story is beloved by children and stirs the emotions of adults
  • Some people don’t like the story only seeing the boys greed
What makes this book stand out?

This book will open up communications between parent and child and even parent and parent. It will even grow with the child and as the child gets older the tree will have new meanings to them.


Story of Ferdinand


Ferdinand is the story of a young bull who dares to be different from the other bulls. As he grows older he maintains his difference and what makes him happiest “sitting and smelling the flowers.” The bullfighters come and choose Ferdinand to enter the ring. However, despite being poked, cut and a red cape waved in his face, Ferdinand does not become filled with rage, but rather sits down in the middle of the ring to smell the flowers than make him happy.

  • Kids quickly get the message from the book that it is best to be yourself
  • Children learn that kindness wins out in the end
  • Some parents feel that this version of the book is squashed together losing some of the whimsy of the original copy.

What makes this book stand out?

This book teaches a wonderful lesson that in the end kindness alway wins out which is a good lesson for any 4-year-old to learn!


The Crippled Lamb


This is a heartwarming Christmas story about a little lamb with a lame leg that can’t run and jump like all of the other lambs and is excluded because of his disability. When the other lambs go off to pasture the little lamb is sad to be left behind, however, his exclusion from the flocks, allows him to witness the miracle of the birth of the baby Jesus. The story teaches that sometimes being different can lead to other better things. A great read for Christmas Eve.

  • Beautiful illustrations and a beautiful Christmas story with a lovely message
  • Teaches that every life is special and important
  • Some people believe using the word crippled in reference to the lamb is offensive
What makes this book stand out?

This book is loving written and has beautiful illustrations and is the perfect addition to that Christmas Eve reading list for a 4-year-old.


Love You Forever


This is a story that every parent should read to their child and every 4 year old will want to read again and again. It teaches children that parental love lasts forever no matter how adult they will become. At the end of the story children learn that too feel the love for the parent who raised them and cared for them.

  • This book will make your child feel 100% loved even when they aren’t always behaving the best.
  • Fun book for children to read because of the rhymes and repetition.
  • Some adults feel that the mother in the story’s actions are a bit over the top, forgetting this is a book to amuse children
What makes this book stand out?

This is a book about unconditional love, a message that every child needs to hear.


The Polar Express


This award winning book for children won the Caldecott winner in 1986. This book tells the story about how a young boy boards a mysterious train on Christmas Eve and ends up at the North Pole where Santa promises him any gift he wants. The young boy then shows Santa that he believes by choosing the one gift that only true believers can hear.

  • This is a great Christmas Eve read for all those who believe in their heart of hearts
  • The art work in this book helps to make the story come alive
  • Some of these books came with torn covers
What makes this book stand out?

This book contains all of the excitement of Christmas that most young children feel.




When little Cozy the musk ox with the softest warmest fur of all gets separated from his herd in a storm he begins to feel lonely. However, before long the cold wind and storm brings various animals seeking warmth and relief from the storm. As each new animal joins Cozy he establishes a few rules such as gentle voices, quiet thumping, and no fighting. As spring comes each animal gets ready to go his own way, but not before telling Cozy they will join him again come winter.

  • Teaches children about sharing, friendship and compromise
  • Beautiful illustrations makes this book come alive for young children
  • Although there are not a ton of reviews for this book, the few that are available have nothing negative to say about this book.
What makes this book stand out?

This book introduces a musk ox to young children as well as important values.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar


This is an easy to read story about the birth of a caterpillar and his insatiable hunger. The caterpillar eats his way through all of the days of the week and then suddenly turns into a beautiful butterfly. This book has wonderful illustrations and introduces young children to a number of different foods. A great way to explain to young children how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

  • This is a great book for 4 year olds to read on their own
  • This board book is sturdy
  • This book is quite small
What makes this book stand out?

This book captures the attention and imagination of young children and is an easy to read book that helps to create an interest in books and reading that may last a lifetime.

Books By Age

Books for a 1 Year Old
Books for a 2 Year Old
Books for a 3 Year Old
Books for a 5 Year Old
Books for a 7 Year Old

Book Guides by Grade

1st Grade Books
2nd Grade Books

Buyers Guides to Choosing Age Appropriate Books for 4-Year-Olds

If you are choosing books for a 4 year old on your shopping list here are some tips that may help you find just the right book for a child of this age. When choosing a book for 4 year olds here are some things you need to consider.

What Makes a Good Book for a 4 Year Old?

Most 4 year olds are just learning to read and may read anywhere from just a few words to complete sentences depending on a child. This means that you may need to read with or completely to your child, so choosing the right book is important.

  • Look for books that have good illustrations that will allow the child to visually get a good idea of the story.
  • In most cases you will want to choose a book with a shorter story and short simple sentences. Books with rhymes are especially appealing to children this age.
  • Choose a story that will appeal to the child’s imagination or will help then learn facts about a subject they are interested in.
  • If you are the one reading the book to a child look for books you and the child will both enjoy it.
  • Books where some words are repeated often are best for children of this age

What Level Books Should a 4 Year Old be Reading?

If your child is four years old they are likely either beginning to read or are just getting ready to read. This means that your child will be able to recognize all or most of the letters of the alphabet and know what sounds the letters make. They may also be able read a few simple words, but their reading will be limited to a few words or books they have actually memorized.

While a few 4 year olds may be able to read simple books with little help, most children this age will need to read or will be able to read with the help of a parent.

How Can I Help My 4-Year-Old Learn to Read?

There are several things you can do to help your 4 year old learn to read. Here are some things you should be doing.

  • Start reading to your child at birth or even before. Hearing the cadence The written words will help children read sooner. It also develops an interest in reading from a young age.
  • Read to your child every day, pointing out simple words to them as you read. When you read a book with repetitive words (such as One Fish, Two Fish) read the repetitive word a few times and thereafter have the child read the word each time you come to it. Seeing, hearing, and reading the word repeatedly will help the child recognize the word.
  • If you child is sounding out letters try and have them read simple words like bat, cat, hat, bug, rug, mug on their own while sounding them out and giving them a lot of praise for their efforts.
  • Let the child tell you their favorite part of a story, encourage them to sing songs, learn rhymes and more. The better vocabulary your child develops the easier it will be for them to learn to read.

What Form of Book is Best for a Four Year Old?

Board books and hardback books with thicker pages are the best type of books for 4 year olds since the books hold up better and the pages are easier to turn. Paperbacks may be ripped easily especially if the child looks at or tries to read the book on his own.

Final Thoughts on the Best 4 Year Old Level Books

Hopefully these reading tips and the selection of books we have suggested will help your child begin his own interest and adventures in reading.

About Jesse

Jesse has over a decade of experience reviewing products and toys in particular. Growing up in a large family with many little cousins and nephews he has a keen eye for picking out great gifts for kids. Over the years Jesse has developed an understanding of exactly what consumers want to see in a review in order to help them in their buying decisions. Sheryl and Jesse have worked together to craft the toy and gift guides here on Pigtail Pals! Jesse also spent several years as a full-time personal care assistant employed at "The Dream Works" working with Autistic adults including his older brother.